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Brewing up a new packaging solution

A Minnesota-based provider of home brewing equipment creates on-demand packaging for shipments.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
October 06, 2011

Companies shipping directly to consumers are constantly searching for an edge in the market. That was certainly the case for Minnesota-based Northern Brewer, one of the first companies to provide all the tools to make home-made beer, wine, mead and sake.

The company recently realized one way to set itself apart with customers was through a new approach to packaging (Sealed Air, http://www.sealedair.com) for its BrewSaver Shipping, which provides shipping for a flat rate of $7.99.

While investigating alternatives to the void fill and protective packaging it was using, Northern Brewer agreed to become a beta test site for a new method of quickly creating packaging materials on-site and on-demand. The system was designed to eliminate the need to store large amounts of bulky materials while the compact size and speed of the system allows operators to create inflatable cushioning at workstations, online or for batching processes. The end result is a cushioning system that retains air and maintains cushioning performance throughout Northern Brewer’s transportation cycle.

After conducting internal package testing, Northern Brewer found that the new material retained more air than any other inflatable packaging solution it compared.

Northern Brewer uses an overhead delivery system for on-demand, de-centralized distribution of inflatable packaging from overhead bins at each station. overhead delivery system allows the brewer to free up valuable floor space for storing products rather than packaging supplies. The resulting redesign of the packaging stations provided a more ergonomic design for Northern Brewer’s fulfillment associates.


Read more from Modern’s Pallet and Packaging Report.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


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